Friday, December 11, 2009

6.) Indifference

Soundtrack Song - Kings of Leon, Revelry

"Jo? Are you okay?"

I jerked my shoulders so Tubby had to remove his hands from their perches on either side of my neck. "Yeah," I mumbled, folding my arms across my chest. Kris had some nerve coming into my house and telling me how to live my life. Who does that?

"What did he do?" he asked, puffing his chest out and refusing to let the subject slide. I guess when you cause a scene, people rubberneck and want to know what’s going on, but he was acting like a territorial gorilla or something. I'm a big girl, and I can handle stuff like this on my own.

"Nothing. Notta big deal." I walked out of the living room and into the kitchen to grab another beer, trying to direct my thoughts away from that area of my life. Once I start thinking about it, it puts me in a funk that takes me days to get out of. It's better to not think about it.

"Um, obviously whatever happened is a big deal, because you’re all pissed off now."

"Maybe I’m pissed off because you’re annoying me, Preston," I snapped, using his full name like he would often use mine. No one had called him by his name in many years, ever since he was given that nickname as an insult in elementary school. He’d been the roly-poly kid in class; nothing about his body was tubby now, though.

"God. Chill the fuck out. I was just trying to help," he answered defensively, turning to leave the room.

My stomach sank. I didn't mean to act like a jerk toward him. "I know. I’m sorry, Tubby. I just... let’s forget about it. 'Kay?"

"If you say so," he sighed. Then the corner of his mouth curled upwardly as he spoke again. "You’ll let me know if I need to beat anyone up, right?"

"Like I need you to defend me," I replied sweetly, regaining a bit of my good mood back. "I could beat you up. Who you gonna get to defend you, huh?" I started to shadowbox, feigning a few punches in his direction.

"Whoa, Rocky. Take it easy on me," he laughed, wrapping an arm around my waist and pulling me toward him in a one-armed hug. "Seriously, though. You’ll let me know if you need anything?"

"You know it," I replied reassuringly. I mirrored his positioning and put my own arm around him, feeling friendly and making it clear that I was okay with fooling around some tonight. "You staying over?"

Tubby smiled sadly. "I was going to, but I don’t think I will tonight."

"Why?" I whined.

He grabbed my beer with his free hand and chugged a large gulp. "You don’t want me. I don’t mind the random hook-ups, but I’m not some other guy’s stand-in."

"What?" I asked, confused as hell. We weren’t interested in each other, not even a little, except for as an occasional means to my frustrated sexual end, and Tubby never turned me down. Ever.

"That guy. Listen, it’s cool."

"What are you talking about?"

"You like him, and he turned you down. Don’t worry, kiddo. It happens to the best of us," he added with a wink. Tubby took my bottle of beer with him, and I grabbed a fresh one from the fridge.

To continue to cheer me up, he played some dance songs for me. My friends and guests were doing their own things; some were playing beer pong in the dining room, and some were smoking out on the back porch. No one was watching as I stepped up on the coffee table and let the music take over my body.

I blocked out all other thoughts and rocked my hips back and forth in time to the music. Back and forth, forth and back, knowing full well that no one was around and definitely not thinking about that earlier confrontation.

I mean, who does that? What kind of ungrateful person accepts an invitation and attends a party, only to talk down to the hostess of said party? It’s bullshit. I don’t appreciate it. First of all, I hate being preached to. Like I told Kris, it’s my life. It’s the only one I’ve got, so I’ll do with it as I damn well please. What gives him the right to judge me? Only God has that ability, and I’m not even sure if He exists.

And second: yeah, it did hurt worse because it came from him. I liked him. There was something about him that called me to him, this dark magnetism that sucked me in like a black hole. His eyes were a pair of vortexes, pulling me in against my will. I’m not saying I believe in fate; but I am saying that you don’t just feel that way about a person for no reason. Too bad I wouldn’t get the chance to see just what that was all about. No—too bad he won’t get the chance. He’s the one missing out.

Every time I caught myself thinking about it, I'd drink more. He had me thinking about James, thinking about my family, and thinking about... well, everything. I was pissed at myself for letting him get to me like that. I was letting a stranger weigh on my mind too much. Why did he care, anyway? Was it any of his business? Hell nah! Before today, he didn’t even know I existed. Although, I never did find out how he knew my name. That was bizarre, actually, and it still piqued my interest. Had I done something to myself stick out?

I tried to exist outside the realm of society. I wasn’t doing it on purpose, in order to stand out or something like that, as a role model for indifference. I didn’t want to be different for the mere sake of being different. I just didn’t want to do anything to cause a ripple effect on the world around me.

It’s best to not make friends. Sure, I had the friends I’d made when I was still in high school, but I don’t see the point in forging new relationships with new people. You can’t rely on people to be around forever. And I’m not just saying that because James died. Look at my mom: she just up and left because it was too hard on her. My mother. The woman who gave birth to me. And my dad had mentally checked out years ago, when she left him. The only person I had right now was Tubby, and that wasn’t because I hadn’t not tried to push him away. He just wouldn’t leave, no matter what I said to get rid of him or what I did to chase him off. Now that’s a best friend if I’ve ever seen one.

But, additionally, I didn’t want any of my actions to hurt someone else. The only way to ensure that is to stay away from other people. I drink and smoke at home, and I go to work and do my job for the paycheck. Janitorial work is definitely not glamorous, but it keeps me in the background. No one notices you. At least, I thought no one notices you.

By staying out of the public realm, I effectively prevent myself from influencing other people and the goings-on of the world. I don’t cause accidents, and I don’t talk to people. I do my own thing, and let the world revolve of its own accord. Today was a fluke. Getting noticed, talking to those guys, inviting them over... that’s not me. I blame it on Kris, and whatever power he has over me. That body, those eyes, the hair. Whatever it is, it’s got me hooked greater than any other drug. Too bad he turned out to be such an ass, because we could have had some fun together.

I only stopped dancing occasionally to get more beer, but I was feeling tired from working and not sleeping the night before, so it only took a few bottles to get me plastered. In no time, the alcohol wore me down and I was feeling its effects. The neurons stopped firing and the synapses stopped transmitting chemicals. It didn’t take much, especially considering I really hadn’t eaten much, besides the usual Sheetz MTO for lunch and then those chips.

Almost losing my balance as I stepped off the coffee table, I looked around for Tubby. I just wanted to let him know that I was going to bed, and that he was in charge of kicking everyone out and locking up whenever he felt like it. I spun around and made myself dizzy as I searched.

"Shit, girl. You’re all fuckered up," he laughed, reaching out to steady me as I stumbled.

I snorted. "Almost didn shee ya, Tubs, 'til ya smiled. Blended in wit da dark. Shaw yer pretty 'n' shiny teeth. Gave ya 'way," I explained unintelligibly through my slur. He nodded, even though he really didn’t understand, and he tried to direct me toward the stairs. "Mm, no. I c'n do it," I mumbled, grabbing onto the banister and pulling myself up to the second floor. All of a sudden, it felt like my legs wouldn’t work. I lifted my feet so high, but they didn’t seem to want to land on the next step.

"Let me help," he said, grabbing me and dragging my limp body behind him as he ascended the stairs. As he dealt with me, he began to understand my condition. "How much did you drink?"


"Didya eat today?”

"Lunch. Chips. Mmm, chips," I answered, craving more Lay's. Or were they Wise?

"Fuck, Jo. No wonder. What were you thinking?"

"Um. I like beer?"

Instead of laughing, like I had hoped he would, he rolled his eyes. "It's not funny. Not when you make me babysit you like this," he explained, taking off my sandals for me as I fell onto the bed.

"Not aksin' you ta," I grumbled, grabbing my pillow and shoving my face into it. I love the coolness of a fresh pillow.

"No, you never ask. But you need someone to take care of you if you're not going to do."

"Shuddup," I groaned, kicking my feet at his hands to get him to leave me alone. Tubby left, closing the door behind him as my drunken stupor slid into an alcohol-induced, restless sleep.

When I woke up from my fitful slumber, the hangover hit me like a hammer smashing my temples. My stomach turned and seized, and I ran into the bathroom to expel its contents into the toilet. All that came up was an acidic sludge that ate away at my throat. Even though I felt like shit, I quickly made myself shower, brushing my teeth in the process.

Tubby knocked on the door and opened it enough to poke his head in. "How ya feelin'?"

"Like I was hit by a Mack truck," I groaned, spitting toothpaste down the drain.

"You want pancakes?"

My stomach turned again at the mere mention of food. I thought I was going to throw up in the shower. "No," I barely whispered, grabbing my stomach and resting my forehead against the wet tile. I looked down and noticed a bit of red. Fuck me, I thought. Nothing like being hungover and having to deal with menstrual cramps at the same time.

"Alrighty then. I'm outta here."

"Bye, Tubs."

I turned off the shower and wrapped myself in a towel. As I passed by the mirror on my hunt for clothes, I couldn't help but notice my reflection. It was time for another change, so I decided to stop by the drugstore and pick up some hair dye.


  1. I wish she'd stop hiding behind herself with things like drugs, alcohol, hair dye, etc. She may think she's getting the most out of her life...but Kris is here to tell her she's wrong!

  2. This girl really needs help.
    Kris could be the guy to help her through this if she would let him.

  3. I kinda like self-destructive Jo. Though I really hope she lets Kris help her. sigh.... Poor Jo...

  4. This chapter makes me sad because of Jo, she is so, so sad and so dulling her pain with drugs, booze, and hair dye. Been there, done that, and even though this is fiction, wow, it still hits a nerve! She needs help, then let Kris be the one to help her, but she needs to help herself out of this one, as well!

  5. Ok first things first, I love Tubby.
    I'm not sure why, but he's fantastic and I hope that he continues to be in this story cause he makes me happy lol.

    "The only person I had right now was Tubby, and that wasn’t because I hadn’t not tried to push him away. He just wouldn’t leave"
    ^^ BAHAHAHAHA I love it... I've got a friend like that, and it's true, they are the best kind.
    I totally love all the dynamics of their relationship.

    "Fuck, Jo. No wonder. What were you thinking?"
    "Um. I like beer?"
    ^^ /sigh ughhh I think we've all had this drunken conversation before... oh Jo.

    I seriously love her. Like, you have no idea... she's such a fantastic character.
    I really can't wait for the next time she has a run in with Kris... I hope it goes better, but at the same time, I kinda love them brooding over each other.

    Is it too soon to say I can't wait for the sex?! lololololol ooo dear...

    I'm super excited for the next one =D!!

  6. I really can't wait for Kris to step in and be Jo's hero. As soon as he learns to stop being preach-y, he could really help her!

    And ohhhh Tubby! He never ceases to make me smile. (: